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    Missile Defense

Russian military leaders have expressed concern about US plans for a national missile defense system. Will defense technology be limited by possibilities for a strategic imbalance? Is this just SDI all over again?

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rshowalter - 10:54am Mar 22, 2001 EST (#1302 of 1308) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

"it requires a lot of effort, patience, sensitivity and imagination to put yourself into someone else's shoes, so to speak. And even that will not guarantee the result - one, who have never had a similar experience, may have a great difficalty to understand."

That's absolutely true -- and a fundamental reason why, on problems that are complicated, and difficult, staff work is essential.

Ideas can be "somehow, too weak" -- that with more development, can cease to be weak, can carry the day.

almarst-2001 - 10:55am Mar 22, 2001 EST (#1303 of 1308)

Missile Crisis Intelligence Ripped -

"On Oct. 4, 1962, the group discussed the ongoing work of Operation Mongoose, a once-secret plan to cause disruptions in Cuba, including blowing up power stations and planting U.S. intelligence infiltrators. Attorney General Robert Kennedy, tapped by his brother to oversee Mongoose, attended.

''The attorney general informed the group that higher authority was concerned about the progress on the Mongoose program and felt that more priority should be given to trying to mount sabotage operations,'' minutes from the meeting said.

From other reports, it is understood that ''higher authority'' refers to President Kennedy, said Anna Nelson, a historian at American University and a member of the JFK Assassination Records Review Board, which requested release of the documents.

The records say that there was some discussion of mining Cuban waters with devices ''appearing to be homemade and laid by small aircraft operated by Cubans.''

Nelson said that plan didn't become reality.

''Either they never did it or we never knew about it,'' she said.

Kennedy formed his version of the advisory group in May 1961 with an executive order directing it to review intelligence work, including ''highly sensitive covert operations relating to political action, propaganda, economic warfare, sabotage, escape and evasion, subversion against hostile states.''

The document adds that ''these covert operations are to be conducted in such manner that, if uncovered, the U.S. government can plausibly disclaim responsibility for them.''

Among those on the board were Clifford, chairman of the group for most of the Kennedy years and later Lyndon Johnson's defense secretary for a time; retired Gen. James ''Jimmy'' Doolittle, who led the first bombing raid on Tokyo during World War II; and William Baker, head of research at Bell Laboratories."

rshowalter - 11:07am Mar 22, 2001 EST (#1304 of 1308) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

Sometimes, the differences between two cultures are vast, on a huge number of problems, but the most essential mismatches are few, and if they can be understood in one place, that understanding can be applied everywhere. I think that's true of the core impasses between the West and Russia --- and there ARE plenty of people of good faith in the West as a whole, and also in America. Many of them, in fact, live in Washington of New York.

For example, I think if Russians actually understood how the paradigm shift in boundary layer theory between 1956 and 1975 actually happened (in all its ugly, culture-bound details) they'd know most of the things they'd need to deal with other impasses they have to deal with.

I'm involved with another impasse, on an academic subject, with a first rate University that is dealing, within American usages, with tact, sophistication and much good will. Even so, you'd have much to learn if you actually studied, at the level of personal interaction and administrative function, how things are being done. And how AFRAID the players are. And how the "defenses" in the system work. Every kind of impasse you're ever likely to see between American and Russians would be there to see, if people looked. My reasonably educated guess is that if Russians asked for a chance to see this administrative interaction, for the purpose of learning about negotiating usages and difficulties, the details might well be revealed.

And the academics involved would be likely to work very hard, to show how things really work -- because sentiments for peace, and especially for nuclear safety, are very widely held, and passionately felt, just below the surface of peoples' emotional lives.

Of course, there might be many other ways of proceeding, too.

But some FACTS about the Cold War have to be nailed down ---- because once they are established, the justification for continuing the horror loses legitimacy - and this could be widely explained.

rshowalter - 11:12am Mar 22, 2001 EST (#1305 of 1308) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

I believe the story -- it fits a great deal I know, most of it on the public record.

Some core facts are set out in DARK SUN: The making of the Hydrogen Bomb by Richard Rhodes, who won a Pulitzer Prize for THE MAKING OF THE ATOMIC BOMB.

The Bush administration seems to be reviving policies that were very reckless when they were first set out, and not justified then, but that are INSANE now. He's having a hard time keeping NATO together with him, because military officers are often sane.

Maybe I should type out what's on the dust jacket of DARK SUN, too.

almarst-2001 - 11:30am Mar 22, 2001 EST (#1306 of 1308)


I very much like to hope, my just born grandson will live in a very different world, with no fear of nuclear castrophy.

It seems you are thinking about some real steps to be taken in that direction. You mentioned the extensive staff work to be required. I would be very interested to know more what do you have in mind to the degree you feel comfortable to shear.

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